Zune Team better get ready to rumble

Being a former MSFT blue badge, I know how competitive it is in Redmond.  Teams fight to establish and keep their identity and a "takeover" or "merge" with another group is hardly ever looked at as a "win-win" as they try to tell you in the Town Hall meeting.  Someone always lost.
 
With the new WinMo7 series phone I can’t help but wonder what the folks in the Millenium complex are thinking and talking about.  This is an obvious encroachment on their territory and especially since they haven’t been able to really be iPod/iTouch killers and WinMo has never been the iPhone killer…it almost makes sense for Redmond to merge the two.  Zune is a better mp3 product than iPod.  Hands down.  WinMo7 lacks the feature set it needs to be the iPhone killer and integrating the Zune (umm..assimilating is a better word) could possibly give Microsoft what it wanted three years ago.
 
When the phone gets released, what will the Zune team do then?  What new features will be available on the mp3 player the WinMo7 phone wont have?  If the story isn’t compelling, the Zune may be doomed.
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SharePoint Connections 2010 Conference – Amsterdam

I was honored to be asked to speak at the SharePoint Connections Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

MSC33: Understanding the Service Application Architecture of SharePoint 2010
Richard Taylor
The architecture for SharePoint has changed considerably. Come to this session to see what the changes are and how to design your SharePoint environment to take advantage of the new services provided by SharePoint 2010.

MSC11: Enterprise Search Overview
Richard Taylor
With SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft has made a major leap forward in new enterprise search options that cover the full spectrum of business needs. This session will provide an overview of the key search capabilities in SharePoint 2010 through demonstrations of new features and example applications.

MSC22: Designing a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan for your SharePoint 2010 Infrastructure
Richard Taylor
What infrastructure plan would be complete without understanding how to recover from a catastrophic occurrence? Come to this session to understand how to design your SharePoint infrastructure to become as redundant and resistant to failure as possible.

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Microsoft Office says I’m Caucasian…Come Again?

 

I was creating a presentation for a client and was looking for a graphic.  I click on INSERT, CLIP ART and search for ‘USERS’.  I got back a bunch of crappy art work and then some pretty decent stock photos.  OK.  I try ‘USER’ (singular, without the s).  A stock photo of a black man sitting next to a PC shows up.  hmmm…I try ‘ASIAN’—a bunch of drawings of dragons and then some decent stock photos of people.  OK.  I try ‘HISPANIC’ – a LOT of stock photos of family and soccer.  Then I try ‘CAUCASIAN’…and get this:

 

00400691[1]  and   00411847[1]  and   00400686[1]

 

Is Black the new White?  Did I miss the re-assigning of the terms??

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The 25 Days of Christmas

 

 

I am such a Holiday Nut.  I guess it comes from my background; elementary school, home, friends, etc.  I have always celebrated holidays—even the obscure ones like Arbor Day. 

So a tradition that I REALLY enjoy during Christmas is the “25 Days of Christmas”, ostensibly since Christmas falls on the 25th of December I begin on December 1.  Every day I do something slightly different and pick up pace on the 13th (so I can include the “12 Days of Christmas”…more on that later).

OK.  Here is the plan and how we roll here in Arizona:

December 1 – Made 5 dozen cookies, mixed bag of gingerbread, sugar, and chocolate chip.  Took a batch and “Ding Dong Ditched” a neighbor.

December 2 – Put up Christmas Lights

December 3 – Went to #3 Daughter’s Christmas Choral concert, came home and did homemade crafts.

December 4 – Went Christmas Tree shopping.  Bought an 8 foot Noble Fir.

December 5 – Went to a Christmas breakfast party where Santa came and gave kids candy canes.

December 6 – Made stained-glass cookies with the neighbors and “Ding Dong Ditched” another neighbor.  It was our neighbors first time making cookies and DDD’ing someone.  It was a blast!

December 7 – Watched ‘Elf’, made some hot cocoa and decorated the tree with popcorn.

December 8 – Youngest daughter has a Christmas choir concert.  Then Gingerbread House making with neighbors!

Day 9 — My 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter stopped arguing for 1 hour while they build a Gingerbread house.  The finished product is below:

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SharePoint Saturday

After three months of preparation, SharePoint Saturday in Phoenix came and went.  It was a HUGE success.  We had 250 registered and about 185 attend the more than 20 sessions.  I wish I had taken more time to interview the speakers and “players”, but I was running around like a madman trying to make people happy.

I will post pics and movies here this week. 

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Chaos, Order, Randomness, and Determinacy

Amazing what some tweet about on Twitter.

I was having a somewhat esoteric discussion with @LLiu that started with a tweet he sent out.  @DavidPae said he wanted to see whose theory is right by proof and to share our hypotheses.  I took the challenge.

 

First, context.  Here is a transcript of our tweets.

@LLiu: "The simple willingness to improvise is more vital, in the long run, than research." – Rolf Potts [Don’t stop asking if u don’t understand!]

@SlkRck: Nice adage, but reality is different.

@LLiu: “How so?” Research w/o implementation & continuous improvement is just ideas. So much value trapped in MSR!

@SlkRck: Potts favored improvisation over research. Think of how that would scale….can you say CHAOS?

@LLiu: Discoveries/innovations/revolutions result from chaos, not order. Only those in power would prefer order. Progress = managed chaos.

@SlkRck: The Law of Entropy disagrees with you 😉 What you describe (e.g. discoveries, innovations) is serendipity, not chaos

@LLiu:  Chaos is essential 2serendipity -ppl need 2meet randomly, stumble upon new thoughts & ideas, & be stimulated by others around them. no, my pt is that true progress arises from empowering/leveraging chaos vs enforcing order.

@SlkRck: Progress is methodical, not random. Random != Chaos.

@LLiu: "Progress is methodical, not random." – Edison-style brute force can only go so far. Discoveries like penicillin cannot be planned.

@SlkRck: “YES, but pencillin discovery wasnt CHAOS, it *was* random. Again– Random != Chaos.

@LLiu: agreed, but I’d say Randomness:Determinacy == Chaos:Order. Hence, chaos is essential to randomness.

 

Next, let the proof begin.

First, definitions: 

Chaos:  1)any confused or disorderly collection or state of things;2) Mathematics A dynamical system that has a sensitive dependence on its initial conditions

Random: 1)Of or relating to an event in which all outcomes are equally likely;2)Mathematics & Statistics Of or relating to a type of circumstance or event that is described by a probability distribution.

Determinacy: 1) The quality or condition of being determinate; 2) The condition of being determined or characterized.

Order: 1)A condition of logical or comprehensible arrangement among the separate elements of a group; 2)A condition of methodical or prescribed arrangement among component parts such that proper functioning or appearance is achieved

 

Each time one rolls a pair of dice, the outcome is random.  All outcomes are equally likely.  I could say that the condition has been determined; it is already assured that you will get a 1/12 change of getting snake-eyes—or any other combination.  Therefore, Randomness can be the same as Determinacy in some situations.  By definition, chaos is the complete opposite of order.  So, what does that have to do with our discussion?

Improvising suggests that one makes do from whatever is available, without previous planning.  Research suggests that one studies thoroughly so as to present in a detailed, accurate manner.  Improvising takes no thought or care as to accuracy or order, the opposite of research.  The willingness to improvise, as the saying goes, is more valuable in the long run, than research.

A discovery that is revealed during research is not random.  Discoveries happen randomly but the act of doing research will result in a discovery of some sort.  The discovery of penicillin happened because Fleming noticed something during RESEARCH.  And then RESEARCHED it some more.

Research is methodical.  It is a process by which truth can be found.  It is not random, but planned; hence—orderly. 

Randomness is simply a distribution of things have happened.   It matters not what its initial conditions are, and thus is characterized by that fact.  Randomness and Determinacy go hand in hand, unlike Chaos and Order which are the antithesis of each other. 

 

That is enough to get the debate going.  This is my proof.

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Airlines are Evil

One would think that airlines would be more helpful these days seeing how badly they have fared over the last several years.  It has been my experience (even recently) that airline are becoming more and more callous to their patrons.  They charge now for things for which they used to not charge, for example.  This past trip to Houston accentuated this and is now embellished forever in my mind.

I purchased a ticket for Houston for which I would return in two weeks.  The project was shortened and I only needed to stay one week.  I figured that I would simply fly standby and hopefully get home earlier.  Upon calling the airline to get on the standby list, the customer service agent told me that I would have to go to the airport to be put on the list.  Furthermore, there would be a $50 fee for being put on the list!  WHAT?!!  Oh wait, she says…your ticket isn’t qualified for standby, she says.

Why? 

Because your flight doesn’t leave until August 7.  You can only fly standby on the day of your original departure.  You will have to *change* your ticket.

How much is that?

$150 plus any change in airfare.

How much would it be for me to change my ticket?  She starts typing madly on her keyboard and says,

$423

But, say I—I only paid $328 for this ticket.  How can a change cost me more than the price I paid?

It’s $150 for the change, plus the difference.

So you are telling me that the difference is $273 between the new fare and what I paid?

yes.

But..a new ticket is cheaper than that.

That is correct.  I would recommend you purchase a new ticket, rather than change your existing ticket.

sigh…ok…so.  Can I redeem the unflown portion for a flight credit?

Yes, sure.  You have $128….oh…it wouldn’t be worth it.

What? Why not?

Because I will charge you $150 to apply your unflown portion.

WHAT?

yes, because it is bascially a “change”.

At this point I stop asking questions, bend over, and let her have my credit card number.  All I want to know is:  when do *I* get a bail out?

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